US rabbinical organization The Coalition for Jewish Values welcomed news that US President Donald Trump had commuted the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, former head of the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company, who had been sentenced to 27 years in prison for fraud and money laundering.
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America, articulates and advocates for public policy positions based upon traditional Jewish thought.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said in a statement: "This was an extremely welcome decision from the Trump Administration. There was widespread, bipartisan sentiment that the prosecution was vindictive and the sentence disproportionate. His family has longed for this day for eight long years."
As Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel at the time of investigations into the management of the Agriprocessors Kosher Meat plant in Postville, IA that Rubashkin headed, Rabbi Lerner was one of the first public advocates for Sholom Rubashkin and his family.
On Wednesday, Trump commuted Rubashkin’s prison sentence, after the decision was “encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch,” said a statement from the White House.
Rubashkin is a 57-year-old father of 10 children. He previously ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company. In 2009, he was convicted of bank fraud and later sentenced to 27 years in prison.
He was charged with defaulting on loans after his funds were frozen during a federal investigation into child labor violations that he was ultimately acquitted of, and immigration-related charges that the prosecution eventually declined to pursue.
“Rubashkin has now served more than eight years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes,” the White House said.
“This action is not a Presidential pardon. It does not vacate Mr. Rubashkin’s conviction, and it leaves in place a term of supervised release and a substantial restitution obligation, which were also part of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence,” the statement stressed.
“The President’s review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case and commutation decision were based on expressions of support from Members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community,” it continued.
“A bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars have expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin’s case and the severity of his sentence. Additionally, more than 30 current Members of Congress have written letters expressing support for review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case.”